The Headmaster’s Blog

Dear HGS Parents,

Childhood today is tougher and more complex than that which we enjoyed. The explosion of all things digital has created a parallel universe in which children can wile away the hours communicating online with ‘friends’ whom they will never meet, engaging in increasingly addictive gaming habits and having their weight, looks and likeability crudely judged by those within their social networking circle, often unaware of what is happening until ‘likes’, retweets and shares place them centre stage.

As I have written to you in the past, this is at the heart of our mobile-free policy in school and – as difficult as it can be – I would urge you all to continue to be vigilant in monitoring your children’s use of tablets, mobiles and computers at home.

Only today, the NSPCC warned that the government had failed to properly implement child online safety recommendations, with the former child safety tsar arguing that Britain is playing ‘catch-up’ on recommendations shared a decade ago. The NSPCC alleges that anti-grooming measures were allegedly ignored and children across the land have been paying the price.

Huddersfield Grammar School remains fully committed to advising its students how to remain safe online, but it does so in the face of the deployment of ever-more sophisticated attempts by unscrupulous individuals to entice young people into potentially dangerous situations online.

I would like to take this opportunity to introduce you to an app which children in the United Kingdom are currently accessing, of which I have serious concerns. This app allows anyone to contact others completely anonymously and can lead to bullying and hurtful comments being made without consequence, and works by ‘piggy-backing’ Instagram. We believe that this app can also pose serious safeguarding concerns for children, and further information is provided here:

My advice would be to discuss this app with your child and recommend that it be deleted from their devices.

It is unusual for me to write to you for any other reason than to celebrate the manifest achievements of your children, of whom we are very proud. On this occasion, I hope that you will excuse me for bringing this concern to your attention. It is my belief that society still has some way to go before we can truly understand the psychological impact upon children of this digital age in which we are living.

Whilst advances in technology have brought us so much, the joys of taking exercise, exploring the great outdoors, learning a musical instrument or simply sharing fun and laughter in real (rather than remote) human company are yet to be surpassed.

With best wishes,

Mr M Seaton